This final rule upgrades the school bus passenger crash protection requirements of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) No. 222. This final rule requires new school buses of 4,536 kilograms (10,000 pounds) or less gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) (``small school buses'') to have lap/shoulder belts in lieu of the lap belts currently required. This final rule also sets performance standards for seat belts voluntarily installed on school buses with a GVWR greater than 4,536 kilograms (10,000 pounds) (``large school buses''). Each State or local jurisdiction may decide whether to install seat belts on these large school buses. Other changes to school bus safety requirements include raising the height of seat backs from 508 mm (20 inches) to 610 mm (24 inches) on all new school buses and requiring a self-latching mechanism on seat bottom cushions that are designed to flip up or be removable without tools.
Agency Contact: For non-legal issues, Mr. Charles Hott, Office of Vehicle Safety Standards (telephone: 202-366-0247) (fax: 202-366-4921), NVS-113. For legal issues, Ms. Dorothy Nakama, Office of the Chief Counsel (telephone: 202-366-2992) (fax: 202-366- 3820), NCC-112. These officials can be reached at the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE., Washington, DC 20590.
This rule is final. Its effective date is April 20, 2009.